Tuesday, 29 July 2014

MUM'S THE WORD... Dystopia Genre (#1)

A monthly feature in which I sit down and talk to my mum about bookish related topics!
For the first installment of 'Mum's the Word' I decided to sit down with my mum and talk about... DYSTOPIA. One of my favourite genre's. The dystopian genre has churned out books such as 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldos Huxley, The Giver by Lois Lowry to more recent releases  like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Earth Girl by Janet Edwards and Breathe by Ally Condie.*

Okay mum, I'm going to start off by reading out some definitions of dystopia.
{definition of dystopia}
Designed by yours truly. And yes this is actually what I read out to my mum.
What's your opinion on the genre as a whole, so far? 
DEPRESSING. Far-fetched.
How is it far-fetched?
I don’t think that human nature would ever go to that extreme. There are too many good people in the world for things to happen like that. I don't think it could ever become global. People are becoming more politically active now.
Yeah,  but the thing is that the government (generally) in these novels tries to crush anyone's who's different and tries to go against the system - they want to crush that 'rebellion'.
They tried to crush people in Egypt and it didn't work. Did you see the masses that rallied against what's happening in Gaza? You can give me a whole host of variables, I mean anything’s possible. I still think its far fetched. These books have created a situation where human nature... people can end up at each others throats. LIKE AN OIL CRISIS. Not having gas or oil, and having to queue up for miles to get materials. What they need is a leader [the society in dystopian novels].
But what if they're happy? In some of these novels/societies people don't want to look deeper than they have to - they're happy enough, so why would they start a movement? Why would someone, a potential leader, be supported if people already think they're happy?
They're being brainwashed into a condition where they're almost robotic.
Okay - well, you've watched The Hunger Games - the first book in a very popular dystopian trilogy - what are your views on the subject, and what happens in the arena?
They’re just creating an unnecessary piece of drama. 
Then why do you think this has become so popular? Why do people read things like this and LIKE it? 
I think people are fascinated by how extreme human nature, or to what extreme human nature will go for power. For entertainment. For control. There's always a part of... people. Just reflects the modern day thinking. Fear. I mean because, the past, they've done everyone fighting each other, the men with the swords hacking and slicing at each other, they've done all that. Next is the kids; what else is going to sell? There are always people who think of themselves as hero's, and people who can see themselves as villain's - they can relate.
Alright, and how do you think dystopian novels relate to the present? What effect do you think they could have? 
I think it could make you question the actions of the government; are they acting in a way that's for your benefit? Is it a plot? It creates... kind-of like a conspiracy theory.
D'you think this is positive or negative?
Both, depending on how extreme someone will take it - if they can be objective, balanced in their views. I mean, its always possible. 
The Roman's captured slaves and had gladiators - made them fight each other in arena's - its an old story in a modern day twist.
 You don't think that this, what's described in these books, could ever happen? Could ever become a situation in which people would have to live in?
 Anything's possible. I hope for the best. I hope that human nature... I am hopeful that good will prevail. That people learn from the past. And act.
But isn't "good will prevail" more of a fairytale, mum? I mean, its quite a common theme.
 For me now, the world is too connected - there's too many new technologies, too many ways of communication, the world has become smaller and I can't see that something like this would be able to prevail in the future. Not as an isolated state or country.
Okay, but what about all those dystopia novels written in the 18th century like George Orwell's 1984, and there's another one called Brave New World that was published in 1932 - they didn't have the same technology we do, is it more credible then?
 The world was in such a state back then - World War One had just finished and the world was not in a good place. I mean, even for America; they had the Great Depression, people going hungry in a country that was supposed to be rich. The world economy was not good.. World War Two was going to occur. People were seeing and had seen some of the worst of human nature. World War One was a horrific war. 
Do you still stand by what you said about dystopia being far fetched now? 
Far-fetched but I can understand why people would start reading... why this genre would come into play. It would be relatable to the people of that time; they'd like to read books that puts a horrific event they had been experiencing {WW1} into something that's more understandable.
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